So slate just released an article discussing so called ‘racial segregation in schools’. In the 20 years between 1991 and 2011, the percentage of black children who go to schools with 90% or more of their own race has increased 5%, from 35 to 40. The article subtly blames private or semi-privatised schools for such a difference. The conclusion is that it must be a conscious effort to revive segregation based on racial difference.
While this does seem a rational conclusion in the light of America’s not so distant past, it is also grossly simplifying matters. Here is my take on it.
I think the first important discussion is that of what private schools really aim to achieve. While the presence of capitalism has a corrupting effect on most companies, schools may be impervious. The main aim of a private, for profit school is money; however, paradoxically, the only way to attain this is through student success. Their source of money is from parents. This relies on enrolment which, in turn, relies on success of students. The profit is contingent, for once, on the actual success of society; something rarely seen in an age where corporations are worth many times more than the labour that substantiates them.
If you take this a step further it is quite logical that school admissions are based on two things:
1) The ability of a parent to pay admission fees and/or support in other ways
2) The potential success of the child in question
Satisfying both these means immediate success and shoring up the future. So… Why the ‘segregation’? Well, there is none. Segregation actually means something; it is not a buzzword at the sole disposal of outraged libertarians. It means you separate people into racial groups in a conscious effort to exclude and dehumanize one group. It is a vile, disgusting ideology that is both illegal and extremely rare in the world today. That is, compared to recent history. There is no evidence of a conscious effort to revive pre-war segregation. That is not what these statistics show. Reading them in this way is a feeble attempt at riling up people to a disingenuous issue.
So what do these statistics show? Simple. Black children are either less likely to succeed than white children or their parents sit lower on the economic ladder. Or, in part, both. This is the only logical conclusion based on the previous assumptions. I’m not going to argue, as a lot of people do, that Black people are innately undervalued. Or that their failures are discriminatory but their successes are proof of almost demi-god like status. I am neither qualified nor inclined to make such sweeping, unfounded claims based on personal intuition. I am however qualified to talk about statistics.
It is a fact that, as measured in 2011, the median income for black men was $23000 lower than white men. This is a pretty telling statistic. $23000 can make all the difference when it comes to paying for a private education or not.
Let’s consider the other fact. Achievement. Black children, on valid tests which measure scholastic capability, score 75% that of white children. This manifests itself before kindergarten, according to a New York Times article. Again, I am not going to say anything about some notion of innate intelligence or genetic superiority. Anyone with a simple grasp of Darwinian natural selection would know these are horseshit. But for whatever reason, whether it be remnants of a past era or cultural regression, this will also decrease admission rates to successful, private schools for black children.
My personal opinion is that I would want my children to be happy and successful. I want to have the option to send them to a school where university admission and scholastic achievement is 2x better than in public schools. Regardless of race, I would like to see these schools into the future largely unchanged. There is, as I have shown, no inherent racism or segregation in the disparity between racial admissions. When the two races close the gap, which they will inevitably do, I would be happy to have my children study with all races. Until then, I really don’t give a damn. This is really a problem for governments and the black communities themselves.